More and more small companies and individuals are adopting video conferencing and collaboration platforms as a way to stay connected. As working from home becomes more common and prices for videoconferencing come down, the compelling reasons for utilizing video communications technology are starting to pile up. Web meetings are not just a good way to connect a far-flung team. They also cut costs, boost productivity and more.
Here are four potential benefits that self-employed professionals and small- to medium-sized companies can realize by utilizing web conferencing.
Travel costs are becoming increasingly prohibitive. With a video link, however, you can maintain quality relationships with clients and stay in touch with colleagues on a regular basis. Yes, there are initial upfront costs, but return on investment is usually swift. This way, you can save your travel budget for a few high profile, important face-to-face dates each year.
In addition to cost-savings, taking meetings online can also help reduce your firm’s carbon footprint. In fact, a recent study suggests that driving one hour for a meeting uses the same electrical power as 1,000 hours of web conferencing. That's both good for the environment and your wallet.
Studies show that nearly 80% of Americans say they'd like to telecommute. Retaining valuable employees who relocate or need to work from home a few days a week saves on office space, costly recruiting and retraining. This is particularly important for small firms that rely on the expertise of a handful of critical staffers who have long-time customer relationships and institutional knowledge.
With web conferencing, telecommuters and remote employees stay on track and can add insights into day-to-day operations and new policies. You also won't be limited by geography when finding new hires.
Further, video conferencing software can connect teams in different offices. Instead of waiting for a quarterly get-together, you and your team can make decisions in real time via web conference. You can talk, display materials, demo new products or services and get immediate feedback in a video conference.
“A picture is worth a thousand words” may be a tired cliche, but it proves particularly true when it comes to cementing relationships. In contrast to a conference call, a live, online video meeting allows participants to see your facial expressions and body language. This can help make meetings feel more personal and familiar.
Web conferencing software usually also allows you to tape and archive important meetings, key strategy sessions and standard training modules that may be useful for new hires. This library of stored information forms a strong base of information as well as a record of company milestones. In addition to cost-savings, these archived materials can be used for on-boarding remote hires in a way that feels more personal than a dry, text-based manual.
Excessive travel can quickly burn out employees unused to tough hours on the road. As a small business owner or consultant, it's important to make sure you don't burn out either. Eliminating, or at least reducing, the need for frequent travel takes a great deal of stress off key staffers that you can’t afford to lose — not to mention yourself.
When you do have to be out on the road, teleconferencing can keep you connected more reliably. Bad weather or unforeseen circumstances can leave consultants and business owners stranded on the way to meetings, but web conferencing circumvents the headaches of canceled flights, long drives, or testy weather.
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